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Deaf History - Deaf People - War

Being Deaf Can Lead to Death

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Updated September 28, 2010

It is dangerous to be deaf in wartime.

This was clearly proven in 1999 when a deaf ethnic Albanian man was shot in the Kosovo war. According to news reports, he had been asked to give a salute but did not understand the verbal instructions, and they shot him. His deaf wife and their children survived.

The tale as recounted in the press:

    One group riding out in the back of a dump truck told of their neighbor, Vefai Rexhemi, a deaf man, who failed to respond quickly enough to a Serb policeman's order to salute. The policeman punched him and then shot Rexhemi dead in front of his wife and their two children.

In 2001, the Israeli-Palestinian war claimed a deaf victim when an 18 year old deaf youth was shot through the heart as he was unaware that fighting was going on around him.

In World War II, deaf people, whether Jewish or not, were victims of the Holocaust.

If he had been hearing, Vefai Rexhemi might be alive today.

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